Ramaphosa: Failed calls in NEC for Zuma to step down must be discussed

Ramaphosa also admitted that President Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffled, which he publicly disagreed with, heightened divisions and tensions in the ANC and polarised the alliance.

FILE: Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa talks to potential investors during discussions at a Brand South Africa briefing at the World Economic Forum in Switerland on 17 January, 2017. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa says while he doesn’t know the agenda for the African National Congress (ANC)’s next national executive committee (NEC) meeting, failed calls that were previously made in the NEC for President Jacob Zuma to step down need to be discussed by the party.

Ramaphosa was addressing the Chris Hani memorial lecture in Uitenhage in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.

The deputy president used the example of Chris Hani, saying he was a unifier and had no scandals.

“We should all try to be Chris Hanis and look at yourself and say do you fit that bill or not and you leave it to the individual. They themselves must be able to reach that conclusion.”

He also gave this telling answer when he was asked why it’s been hard for the ANC to get the president to step down.

“As you well remember, in November a number of comrades raised the matter for the president to step down. That matter was not taken any further. So in the end, it’s a matter that the ANC itself will have to discuss.”

In his address, Ramaphosa also admitted that President Zuma’s recent Cabinet reshuffled, which he publicly disagreed with, heightened divisions and tensions in the ANC and polarised the alliance.

Ramaphosa was warmly received by ANC supporters in Port Elizabeth and spoke frankly about the state of the ANC.

“We are no longer the leaders or society. Society is walking away from us. We are an organisation that is riddled with factions. The problem is money. Money has become between us and today there is patronage.”

Meanwhile, former deputy finance minister Mcebisi Jonas was also in attendance and urged the ANC to admit that it had wronged South Africans.

“Indeed we overlook a fundamental threat to our project of democratising this country. It is bigger than corruption. Our country is being stolen in front of our eyes. We have to build a front against state capture, low growth and inequality.”

At the same time, ANC NEC member and Human Settlement Minister Lindiwe Sisulu who has been touted as a potential candidate for the presidency was also in The Eastern Cape on Sunday.

She spoke to City Press after that event and cautioned that the ANC could lose the 2019 general election if it continued on its current trajectory, adding that those marching against the ANC, particularly against President Zuma, could not just be dismissed.

SUPPORTS INQUIRY

Ramaphosa said he supports the establishment of a commission of inquiry into state capture, saying the allegations could destroy the ANC if they’re are not tested.

Former Public Protector Thuli Madonsela recommended an inquiry in her State of Capture report released last year.

The report, which the president is taking on review, deals with the Gupta family's alleged influence on the state and involvement in Eskom deals.

Ramaphosa said allegations that there are individuals who exercise undue influence over state appointments and procurement decisions should be a matter of great concern.

“They threaten the integrity of the state, undermine our economic progress and diminish our ability to change the lives of our people.”

He said he supports a judicial commission proposed by the former public protector to look into the allegations.

“I support that there should be a judicial commission of inquiry."

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)